BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Investors who fear that U.S. equities could decline further should consider the following stocks. These fast-growing companies are likely to outperform if the European debt crisis continues to roil markets.

ITC Holdings ( ITC) is an electricity provider in the Midwest. During the past three years, it has increased revenue 30% annually, on average, and boosted net income 42% a year. Its stock has returned 2.7% a year during the same period.

Quarter: First-quarter profit increased 19% to $34 million, or 67 cents a share, as revenue grew 3.4%. The operating margin extended from 48% to 53%. ITC has $67 million of cash and $2.5 billion of debt, equal to a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.4.

Stock: ITC has advanced 19% during the past year, trailing U.S. stock-market indices. It trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 15, a 23% premium to the industry average. It's also expensive based on book value, sales and cash flow.

Consensus: Of analysts covering ITC, five, or 56%, advise purchasing its shares and four recommend holding them. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) offers a price target of $64, leaving a potential 30% return. Credit Suisse ( CS) predicts the stock will hit $62.

Bio-Reference Laboratories ( BRLI) provides lab testing services in the New York City area. Since 2007, it has increased revenue and net profit 23% a year. Its stock has achieved annualized gains of 20% during the same span.

Quarter: Fiscal first-quarter profit rose 11% to $4 million, or 15 cents, as revenue increased 31%. The operating margin stretched from 6.6% to 7.5%. Bio-Reference holds $15 million of cash and $34 million of debt, equal to a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.3.

Stock: Bio-Reference has climbed 73% during the past year, beating U.S. benchmarks. It sells for a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 20 and a price-to-book ratio of 4.8, 47% and 70% premiums to peer averages. It's also costly based on sales.

Consensus: Of the four researchers following Bio-Reference, one recommends buying and three suggest holding its shares. Jefferies ( JEF) offers a target of $19, implying the stock could fall 14%. William Blair expects the shares to outperform.

American Science & Engineering ( ASEI) develops X-ray inspection and other detection technologies for security markets. During the past three years, it has boosted revenue 16% annually, on average, and net income 14% a year.

Quarter: Fiscal fourth-quarter profit soared 50% to $12 million, or $1.34, as revenue rose 24%. The operating margin widened from 23% to 25%. American Science & Engineering has $179 million of cash and $7.1 million of long-term debt.

Stock: American Science & Engineering has appreciated 18% during the past year, lagging behind U.S. stock indices. It trades at a price-to-book ratio of 3, a 40% discount to the industry average. It's expensive based on projected earnings.

Consensus: Of firms rating American Science and Engineering, three, or 43%, advocate purchasing its shares and four advise holding them. Stifel Financial ( SF) and The Benchmark Co. forecast that the stock will advance another 23% to $90.
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-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.

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